Come Sit with Me
…and we'll watch the world turn.
Or so he said.
I went down to Oliver's restaurant this morning to greet him a Happy Christmas. We haven't been able to see much of each other these days with the university slowly eating my life and all that but hey, it's the break. I wanted to see my best friend so bad.
You could imagine my surprise when Oliver's receptionist, Aline, greeted me with a shocked 'Oh Master Giancarlo, you're here!' look like I don't normally drop in unannounced (although maybe I should give these people a warning some time, it's not like I'm some big shot who could disturb the restaurants operation hours whenever I saw fit).
"Didn't you get his message?" was the first thing she blurted out when I arrived at her tiny podium.
Feeling a bit disconcerted at her greeting, I took a couple of seconds to look around the restaurant. The place was freaking packed. Christmas Eve, go figure. This was their busiest day of the year. I was half expecting Oliver to burst through the kitchen's double doors with large place of whatever today's special was in hand, yelling 'Joyeux Noel!' or 'Order up!' or some other ridiculous thing. The kid liked cooking, what can I say? The more stressful the working hours, the better.
He wasn't one to miss the Christmas shift. I was so sure of that. I returned my attention to Aline. Clearly, she can see the look of confusion on my face (or lack thereof, just a blank idiot daze according to Robert, the jerk).
Aline looked further distressed. A pang of worry bloomed in my gut. Was today really that busy?
"Oh!" Aline cried. "Chef Oliver isn't here! He told me he sent you a message! I'm very sorry Master Giancarlo, but the kitchen is on the verge of collapse without him! I don't have much time to talk!"
Like an energetic terrier, I watched her seat several newly arrived parties, take their orders and deliver them to the kitchen in an impressive amount of time. Her rushed apology took some time to sink in with me.
…Oliver wasn't doing the Christmas shift.
That is unusual and weird.
I then remembered the SMS I got when I woke up. Come sit with me and we'll watch the world turn was what he said. I had thought the kid was having another of his hot flashes (no really, they're just moments when he goes all existential and stuff).
I wasn't thinking he'd …really take time out and watch the world turn or whatever it was he was currently doing without my knowledge.
It's unusual and weird.
Long story short I wasted a railway ticket from the house to here, not that it really mattered. I could just take a train that'd bring me south, then rent a vespa and ride in the country. Oliver's la maison a la campagne is fairly easy access.
And during a hot flash, it's the only place I could think of he'd go to.
But why now, during Christmas?
- - - -
I killed the engine on my motor and jogged through the neat dew-wet grass on the front law of Oliver's country house.
To be honest, it was freezing outside but the view was still gorgeous. It was one of those rare days in France when, despite it being in the middle of winter, the sky was a deep, seemingly endless blue and the clouds crawled by like cats' naps and wakings.
Oliver should fortify his home, seriously. Anybody who'd get wind that this quaint cottage was the summer …or vacation residence of the great prodigy Oliver Les Desmond, they're gonna break in and steal all his stuff.
My friend probably wouldn't care less. I'd say it's the vast amount of riches he's got, but who am I kidding? Underneath all those rainbows and smile and energetic joy when working under stress is a kid who spends too much time with his head in the clouds.
I'm honestly afraid, when I turn around, he won't be there anymore. Light as air, he'd be flying away …up somewhere in that sky he keeps looking at. It has me thinking sometimes, if I'd be worthy enough to stay by his side, even just as a friend. I've got too much to hold on in this world. I could be some dead weight to him while his presence is infallible to me.
Quite an unfair exchange, huh? And here I am having a hot flash of my own.
I turned round a whitewashed house corner and found Oliver sitting on the lush grass on his backyard. He barely had any clothes on, just night gown he probably slept in the night before. I bolted back in his house and grabbed the nearest warm expanse of sheet I could find (which happened to be a gigantic comforter on the couch…curious, hm) and ran to his side like a panicked mother hen.
"You idiot! What are you doing out in the cold?!"
Oliver laughed as I dumped the comforter on his head and sat beside him with a huff. It was only then I noticed he had a mug of hot chocolate in his hand and thought 'Aw no, Oliver's upset'
For a few moments, he kept looking at me with a strange smile on his face before finally greeting me with a "You took your time."
It was awkward being around him when he's in this mood. It was like I was sharing the sacred space of a demi-god when I shouldn't be. But then recently, I'd taken it in my head that I had a responsibility of keeping Oliver grounded to this world or else we'd lose sight of nothing short of an angel the moment I let go of his hand.
"…I didn't think you'd be serious about this." I settled for answering. "Seriously, Oli, missing the Christmas shift? Aline was close to tears."
Oliver returned his gaze to the blue sky and the crawling clouds. The sad smile was still on his face. "I'll apologize when I come back. For now, I just want to take a breather."
I fixed the comforter around his shoulders and hugged him tight, not caring how ridiculous and childish I looked. I felt my face heat up and I tried to hide myself in the fabric. My worrying is getting out of hand. Oliver isn't going anywhere; he isn't going to fly away. He's just sitting here watching the world turn because the kitchen noise is proving too much for him at the moment.
"Why so far?" I asked.
I could feel Oliver smile against my hair. It was embarrassing, but no one could see us.
"I told you, the weather out here is perfect."
I drew back a bit and met his enthusiasm with a deadpan. "No. You told me to come sit with you and watch the world turn. You expect me not to panic?"
Oliver stared at me. "…why would you panic?"
Hah, slipped. I relinquished my hold and stared at the grass. "It's nothing. But seriously Oliver, if you want a break, you can try and be a bit less enigmatic about it."
"You're awfully busy at the university recently."
So I wasn't the only one who was lonely. I felt butterflies in my stomach. We sat in pregnant silence for a while before I felt Oliver shift and share his large comforter with me. The sudden burst of body heat had me too hot for comfort for a while before I settled down.
There then was a warm ceramic being pressed into my hand and I found out Oliver was also sharing his hot chocolate with me. I brushed his fingers in a quiet gesture of thanks and took a sip.
"You really took a while," Oliver admonished.
I gave a noncommittal shrug. "Railways were packed. It's the holidays, y'know. Or have you been here long enough to feel the days blending together?"
Oliver laughed. "Hardly, En."
The sun was beginning to set.
"I made Christmas dinner." Oliver said after a few moments.
"I saw when I passed by the kitchen. The roast looks gorgeous."
We watched the birds fly in formation to the east, a neat unbroken triangle of wings and instincts. Oliver's breathing was steady and slow, his heart beat strong against mine. Looking up at the same sky he was hopefully seeing, I understood why he loved coming to this place to unwind. It felt as if everything around us, except us, was moving in a spherical motion, like the fancy night lamps in childrens' bedrooms.
"We shouldn't be out here," I noted more than warned. The grass was ridiculously cold and awkwardly wet but the comforter indeed was warm and snug.
"I just wanted to spend my Christmas with you," Oliver replied quietly and rested his head on my shoulder.
I planted a kiss to his soft hair and until the night grew in, we sat together and watched the world turn.
A/N: Enri's voice seems to have taken quite a turn really. I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about it. Honestly, I don't know how to write these two anymore. So much for a Christmas fic, but enjoy all the same you guys.